Summary: Our Inner Self, Holy Spirit, Life
HOLY ISN’T HIS FIRST NAME – The Spirit of Conversion
Romans 8:5-17 (p. 786) April 19, 2015
What does “conversion” mean? Well, if you’re a van it means you probably have a seat that makes a bed, and some captain seats with a table. ABRACADABRA! You were a transportation vehicle...now you’re a rolling hotel room!
Conversion simply means...“transformation.”
In nature the best example might be the caterpillar into the butterfly.
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It’s called a “metamorphosis.” (From the Greek, meta-transform...morph-form)
It’s clearly evident what conversion means when it’s used in the world of entomology (the study of bugs).
But what about people? Can people really change? Can they be transformed?
Scripture says we can...2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ (seems like Jesus is the cocoon), the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here.”
In Christ...How can we be “in Christ?”
Our text in Romans 8 says we can either live “in” the realm of the flesh or we can live “in” in the realm of the Spirit...if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.” (v. 9)
Do you know if you’re “in” Disney World? Do you know if you’re “in” an airplane? Do you know if you’re “in” a foreign country?
Sure you do! So if you are living in the realm (or kingdom) of God do you know it? Well you do if the Spirit of God is living in you!
Galatians 3:26-28 gives us insight into the phrase “IN CHRIST.” Look with me:
GALATIANS 3:26-28 (p. 812)
Paul’s telling the Christians in Galatia and the Christians in Lexington...“you have a new identity since you gave yourself to Christ. When you were baptized in Christ you died, you were buried, you rose again...you were given the Spirit of God so you can live a new life.
You left one kingdom and entered another. You took off one set of clothes and put on another.
You stopped living with self “or the flesh” as your attitude shaper...now the Holy Spirit is your Guide. God’s not your co-pilot, “He’s flyin’ the plane baby!!!”
For all this to happen...to begin...
I. IT MEANS A SPIRITUAL REBIRTH
I love the story of Nicodemus in John’s gospel. It’s in Chapter 3, right before Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well...Listen to their encounter:
JOHN 3:1-8 (p. 740)
The Kingdom of God is in reality the Family of God. And Jesus says you cannot see it...or enter it without a “spiritual rebirth.”
We’ve heard the phrase “born again” so much it might have lost its newness. It literally means “born from above.”
And God’s Spirit is the active person involved in this conversion, this new birth transformation...and He isn’t just involved at conception...He’s involved in our spiritual growing up also.
[I have 4 children, 2 sons and 2 daughters Ricky, Tyler, Cyndi, and Karissa...They have the DNA of both their mother and father. 23 chromosomes from each. (Thank God Kari’s were stronger and they look like their mother). But it’s this combined DNA that made them who they are...or at least physically.
Nicodemus, like all men understand this process...but he was still thinking in the realm of the flesh when he said, “Surely a man cannot enter into his mother’s womb a second time to be born.”
Jesus’ answer is powerful...unless a person is born of water and spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
Unless and cannot are pretty clear descriptions.
This essential spiritual rebirth isn’t physical but the effects of it are clearly visible.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear it’s sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
By the way physical wind can rustle leaves or pick up a Volvo and toss it down the street. You can’t see the wind...but man you can see its power.
Our text in Romans 8 says “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (v. 5)
Conversion takes an active choice by any man or woman under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
As we shared last week the Holy Spirit convinces us we are sinful, need a Savior who alone is righteous...so our judgment is paid by Him on a cross.
We come to faith by hearing the message of Christ (Rom. 10). God’s Spirit begins to work in our soul...pulling us from sin towards God.
It’s exactly what happened in Acts chapter 2...Peter shares the message of Christ...the people miraculously hear the gospel...That Jesus, the anointed, promised Messiah was crucified, died and rose again...they were responsible for this because of sin...so are we...what happened...